Scenic 20 Acres Protected
River Road has always provided some of the best scenery in Jefferson County, and some of that just got preserved forever with closure of a conservation easement on an open 20 acres about midway between the Potomac River and Moler’s Crossroads.
Neal and Alice Barkus placed the parcel under easement with the Land Trust of the Eastern Panhandle on December 14, 2022, protecting the views it provides looking off River Road to the east. Neal said “It is a beautiful piece of property. We just didn’t want this place to be degraded and now the Land Trust will see to its protection into the future.”
A future house on the property will be restricted to one corner, with no structures allowed in the balance of the acreage. The land is currently planted with grass for hay, but it could be used for other agricultural purposes under the terms of the easement.
With this donation, the Land Trust holds 51 easements, protecting 4,857 acres in Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties. Under such easements, the landowner or landowners continue to hold title to the property but cannot develop it beyond what is allowed in the easement. The restriction on how it can be developed transfers with the property, so future owners are limited in what they can do with the property.
The Barkus’ acquired the parcel in 2000, attracted by its location close to their home and by its scenic beauty. The soil of the parcel is of high quality according to the US Department of Agriculture rating system, making it valuable for continued use as farmland.
A nearby property was protected under a conservation easement of the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board in 2019, opening the possibility of a concentration of preserved, scenic farmland along a popular bicycling route.